Value, psychological and marxist

Chris Burford cburford at
Tue Jul 4 22:02:11 MDT 1995

Depressions, mental and economic.

Value, psycho-social and marxist.

There IS a relationship between depressions mental and economic
which is more than statistical and which explains very fundamentally
why there is a relationship between the marxist concept of
exchange value, and the psychological process of being valued.

Humans are a collective species.  Complex reciprocal
interaction between humans is a fundamental feature of our niche
in the biosphere.

To be valued by one's fellow men and women is one of the most
fundamental requirements of human beings. People may even lay down
their life for it.

People will endure unequal relationships in order to have some sense
of valuation rather than none at all.

In commodity society however the process of reciprocal collectively-
beneficial activity is encapsulated in the commodity, whose price
equilibrates around the socially necessary time for the production of
that commodity according to the culture of that society. The relationship
between individuals in a complex society is freed up into a relationship
as a cash nexus between buyers and sellers of commodities, including the
sale of labour power.

And yet the fundamental concerns about being socially valued keep on
reasserting themselves. People are adrift in commodity society, even at
the same moment as they want and seek freedom. There are increasing
attempts to reassert concepts of community.

When a person becomes unemployed in commodity society their value falls.
They have fewer alternatives. Their lack of money means they cannot
socialise with the friends they used to have. They become depreciated
in all senses of the word, value.

This illustrates that the marxist concept of exchange value is
embedded in the more complex processes of reciprocal valuation that
is an inherent feature of the collective life of human beings.

Hence the marxist concept of value is a subset relevant to commodity
mediated interaction, of the wider psychological processes of
social value and social worth.

Who will buy this idea? Please let me know whether you value this
contribution? You do not have to pay in cash. I really would
like to know whether anyone feels it takes things forward.

Chris Burford, London

From: glevy at
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 1995 05:11:17 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Depressions, mental and economic

Two short points:


2) There IS a relationship between mental depressions and economic
depression which is well-known and has been demonstrated statistically.
When unemployment goes up (as of course happens during economic
depressions), we can observe an increase in suicides and admissions to
mental hospitals!  Also increasing with unemployment: admissions to state
prisons, homicides (i.e. crime), deaths due to liver cirrhosis (due to
increased alcohol abuse) and fatal heart attacks and strokes (increased
stress).  Some other social indicators also increase with unemployment
such as increased divorce rates, spousal abuse, child abuse, etc.

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